Saturday, 8 August 2009

WE ARE KLANG 1.2 - "Crime"

Saturday, 8 August 2009
We Are Klang's second episode was a notable improvement on last week's opener, if still a program wholly unsuited to its late timeslot. If this were performed live, sandwiched inside a Saturday morning kid's series from the '80s/'90s (say, Live & Kicking) I dare say we'd be saluting the arrival of some excellent children's entertainers. But they're not. We Are Klang are an anarchic, madcap threesome with a stage background, who play very well with students caught betwixt adolescent and adulthood. On that level, I still say this BBC3 series lacks an edge and adult sensibility that would help justify its position on the schedule. But, hey, why not record it and watch on a Saturday morning while nursing a hangover? I found it helped enormously.

"Crime" is the theme of this week's episode, as Klangbury is targeted by a master criminal known as The Juggler (Waen Shepherd), who begins stealing items from the council and surrounding town. Steve, Greg and Marek tackle the problem after the police force themselves are stolen and the Mayor's (Debbie Chazen) wig is stolen, so try to implement their crimebusting inititiatve.

Of course, it's all an excuse for some flights of fancy: Steve gets a collar that electrocutes him if he's rude, Marek makes a photofit of the criminal from his own holiday snaps, a Prince lookalike (Paul Chaudery) is mistaken for a fingerprint specialist (and turns out to be one), the trio go door-to-door interviewing various oddball citizens about the crime spree, etc. It was a mixed offering and I didn't find much truly hilarious, but the episode felt thicker with incident and there was enough silliness to slowly chip away at any cynicism. It helps that We Are Klang are at least quite likeable performers, although I could do without Greg Davies pretending to be on the cusp of corpsing every five minutes. We all know their "off script" moments are likely rehearsed, and a TV series ultimately fails to convey the sense of danger they bring to a stage performance.

Overall, a definite improvement over episode 1 with enough going on to keep you entertained. If I were the target age (15-24?) then I would perhaps find We Are Klang much funnier than I do, but I think I OD'd on this comedy with The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer in the mid-'90s. There's not really enough skill and quality to make their childish humour transcendent to anyone over 25, but it's the best kid's show CBBC never had.

6 August 2009
BBC Three, 10.30pm

written by: Steve Hall, Greg Davies & Marek Larwood directed by: Ben Kellett starring: Steve Hall (Councillor Steve), Greg Davies (Council-Leader Greg), Marek Littlewood (Councillor Marek), Debbie Chazen (Mayor), David Ward (Leslie), Waen Shepherd (The Juggler), Sally Harrison (Marek's Mum) & Paul Chaudery (Prince Lookalike)